The December Court Meeting at Armourers’ Hall concluded with the appointment of three Freemen and six Liverymen including myself.
Earlier in the day those who had confirmed they were attending the Carol Service had received advice from Heather Smith the Clerk that it would be cold in the church due to the exceptionally cold weather and the old heating system. With time to spare before the service my wife and I decided that some fortification in the Tokenhouse just around the corner from St Margaret’s would be a sensible precaution and upon entering it seemed that most of those attending the Court meeting including the Master and Wardens had the same idea. After a convivial drink we walked along to the Church suitably prepared.
Despite spending time in the City over the years I have never entered St Margaret’s before and thus my first Tylers and Bricklayers Carol Service provided a good opportunity to experience the church. Traditional carols were sung by the congregation by candlelight and the cold airs caused vapour trails as we sang, which combined with the nativity and other decorations in the church created a truly festive atmosphere.
Carol singing was interspersed with six lessons culminating in the birth of Jesus and were read by the Clerk, Liverymen, Wardens and the Master. The Address was given by the Honorary Chaplain of the Company, the Venerable Dr Jonathan Smith. In his interesting address he explored the meaning of love. Jonathan was appointed as our new Chaplain at the June Court meeting and I had the pleasure of sitting next to him during the excellent lunch in the impressive Armourers’ Hall on that day.
We were most fortunate to have the Lothbury Singers attend the service who provided beautiful choral accompaniment to all the carols and to everyone’s enjoyment sang some solo verses too.
The service concluded with the Blessing and a beautiful solo rendition of Stille Nacht by the choir and a rousing rendition of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by all assembled.
Everyone then left the church into the very cold evening air having enjoyed singing five favourite carols, hearing the Lothbury Singers and the atmosphere of a beautifully decorated church by candlelight.
As we walked away from the church to return to Armourers’ Hall for a buffet supper several Liverymen and women told me that for them Christmas didn’t begin until they had been to the annual carol service, which perhaps explains why it was so well attended.
Upon our return to Armourers’ Hall the opportunity to warm up whilst enjoying a glass of remarkably good Crémant was most welcome. We then moved into the main hall and enjoyed an excellent seated buffet accompanied by some fine wines and a suitably festive and jolly atmosphere.
All concluded the evening had been a very fine start to Christmas.